One day after signing for Major League Soccer expansion side, Orlando City, Brazilian playmaker Kaka spoke glowingly of his new league noting that many Europeans talk of continuing their careers stateside.
Kaka signed for the team owned by Brazilian businessman Flavio Augusto da Silva, saying a major reason for his decision to move to Florida was the franchise’s vision as a global brand capable of attracting international talent.
“In Europe the players speak a lot to come to play in America,” Kaka said. “To other players I think I can show that the American league is a nice place to play.”
One nice aspect of Orlando City is the money although the team and Kaka are mum as to how much the 32-year-old is being paid. “Yes, they’re paying me good. I had to say this. But I had another opportunity to earn more than they are paying me here. So my decision is not about money.”
Instead, Kaka wants to be part of something. A movement. The growth of a league, one which he believes can become one of the five biggest in the world and therefore attract more international talent. His goal is nothing short of a dream that many soccer fans hold close to their hearts, despite dissenters: “My expectation is that soccer is going to be the first sport in America”.
Kaka’s contract at Orlando, according to da Silva’s Facebook account, is for three years, which would make him 35-years-old at the time of expiration. “This is the right moment for me because I’m not too old and not too young but I have the experience to come and give a lot of things to the league,” Kaka said.
Impressive and uplifting soundbites from the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner, who looks poised to impress in more ways than one.
Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.
[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]
Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.
The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.
Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.
Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.
Like the move for Newcastle?
Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.
[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]
Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.
The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.
From The Players’ Tribune:
There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.
Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.
West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.
[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]
Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.
Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.
Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.
“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”
In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.
[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]
There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.
Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.